Monday Meditation 10-31-22

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

Today is Halloween, a day we celebrate with pumpkins, orange lights, fake graveyards, goblins, ghosts and other ghouls.  Children (and adults) will dress up and wander from house to house getting candy.  Parties are held, horror movies are watched and generally a good time is had by all.

But Halloween is really far more than watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and eating too many peanut butter cups.  It is All Hallow’s Eve, the night before All Saints Day. 

The Feast of All Saints is a day set aside to remember all those who have gone before us and are in God’s presence.  In the early church, the saints were remembered on the day of their death (or rebirth into Heaven), but after a while (and a lot of martyrs due to the Roman persecution of the church), it was difficult to celebrate individual saints and the church created one special day. 

Many churches use this day (or the Sunday nearest) as a remembrance of all who died during the previous year.  It can also be a day for us to remember our family members who have passed.

Losing loved ones is always hard but as we remember them we know that ultimately the mourning, crying and pain will be taken away and God will truly wipe our tears from our eyes.

This year, have fun on Halloween, then on Tuesday celebrate the loved ones that have gone before you.


Pastor Bill

Bless those who mourn, eternal God, with the comfort of your love that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that nothing can destroy the good that has been given.
May their memories become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives encircled by your love. Amen.

Vienna Cobb Anderson, from Prayers of Our Hearts (1991, Crossroad Publishing Co.)

Monday Meditation 10-24-22

Today’s verses come from Psalm 145

1I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
2Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.
3Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

Did you start your day blessing the Lord today? 

I didn’t.  I got up and went about my morning business.  I had plans to stop and pray, but I got wrapped up in the making of lunches and taking the dog out (which could have been an excellent time to bless the Lord as I walked in the dark morning). 

It’s not like I forgot, or did not care.  But my day started off poorly and perhaps this is why.  Now I have a choice.  I can continue my day as it started, or I can turn again towards God, blessing God and asking God to guide me this day. This is the great part.  While God wanted me to open my day with God, I am not “in trouble” because 8The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. 

Maybe things are not going the way you want them to go, perhaps your day started off as mine.  We still have a great opportunity before us, after all, 14The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

Even if you are already deep into your day, take a moment.  Stop what you are doing and bless the Lord.  Spend a few minutes in prayer and allow God to work within you.

It will be a much better day.


Pastor Bill

Prayer for the Week:

God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down, when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening, when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.  Flood the path with light, turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road to life, to your honor and glory. Augustine of Hippo

Monday Meditation 10-17-22

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20

I’ve always loved this passage because Jesus starts with the easy question “who do others say…?” After getting some answers, he “turns up the heat” and asks “who do you say…?). 

It is always easy to answer the first question.  Even our youngest Sunday school students can give great answers to this question, for it is a question of orthodoxy.  What does scripture say, what do our churches say about Jesus?  How about our confessions of faith, creeds and other writings?  Orthodoxy is easy, we turn to the “experts”, those who have reflected on our theology and passed it through the generations.

Yet the second question is the hard one for it is directed towards each disciple (including us). Jesus is not expecting the disciples to give the “Sunday school answer” rather he wants to know what they believe.  Peter responds with his belief – “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 

Each day Jesus gives us an opportunity to answer this question, and we do it best by our living.  If we hold it fast that Jesus is truly the Son of the Living God, we should live as He calls us to live, loving God, ourselves and each other.

As you travel through this new week, reflect on the question “who do you say I am?”.


Pastor Bill

Monday Meditation 10/10/22

Gospel Reading Matthew 15:21-28

21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

A test of faith.  Some read this passage and wonder why Jesus would seem to be so antagonistic towards this woman.  Afterall, her daughter was being tormented and didn’t Jesus deal with these things regularly?  Why would he be against helping her just because she was not from the house of Israel?

On the other hand, we can look deeper at this passage from a faith perspective.  Jesus is not going to heal everyone, including those who do not love God, rather He is testing people.  Why should God provide any miracles for someone who does not believe, or at least believe that God can do something?

Jesus is asking this woman for a little more than just a request.  He is asking her to place her faith in Him.  And that is what He is asking all of us – don’t just pray expecting God to grant your wishes, rather pray in faith, knowing that Jesus wants the best for you. 

As you travel this week, place your trust in Jesus and see what happens.


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 10/3/22

27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Luke 6:27-31

It is hard to love our enemies.  It is difficult to even consider doing nice things for those who hate us or treat us poorly.  Yet, that is precisely what Jesus calls us to do, to love our neighbors (even the ones we do not like).  In this part of Jesus’ great sermon, he gives us the golden rule, do to others as you would have them do to you.

Did you know a form of this rule is in nearly every major world religion?  It is one of those universal “laws” and I believe this is so because God really wants us to follow it.

Imagine how different our world could be if we lived this way.  Imagine our country could be if instead of demonizing our enemies, we instead loved them, prayed for them, and did good things for them.  We might see less violence, less arguing and even less stress in our lives.

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or says something bad about you, stop for a moment, utter a prayer of blessing for them and move on.

For a deeper look at the golden rule, see my YouTube video here

Pastor Bill